Despite Allegations Made Against Joss Whedon, Nathan Fillion Went Against The Grain And Defended The Firefly Creator

The past few years have seen a complete career turnaround for writer and director Joss Whedon, who has been the subject of numerous allegations related to problematic behavior on the set of projects like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Justice League, with actors Gal Gadot, Ray Fisher and Charisma Carpenter among those having the most to say about (and in response to) Whedon. The list of former colleagues who have sided with Whedon’s accusers has grown with time (and includes David Boreanaz and Sarah Michelle Gellar), but don’t count on seeing Nathan Fillion joining that bunch. The Rookie star broke his all-around silence on the matter and spoke with praise of his former Firefly boss.

With Season 4 of his ABC drama having wrapped in May, though not before setting up the Niecy Nash-starring spinoff titled The Rookie: Feds, Nathan Fillion settled in for a solid conversation with Smallville vet Michael Rosenbaum for the latter’s Inside of You podcast. After the topic of Firefly came up, Rosenbaum posed the question of the cancelled-too-soon fave returning in some form without Joss Whedon, which Fillion said would be “heartbreaking,” while questioning how it could happen. 

At this point, Rosenbaum asked for Fillion’s thoughts on the aforementioned controversies involving Joss Whedon, which sparked a very specific response from the Malcolm Reynolds portrayer:

Listen, correct me [if I’m wrong]. I read that article, and nowhere in there at any point in time did he mention Firefly. I had an entirely – that was not my experience with that man.

When then asked what his experience with Joss Whedon was like regarding Firefly, here’s now Nathan Fillion responded:

Funny, self-deprecating, incredibly talented. Maybe a little haunted. I mean, by his own admission, that guy’s a work in progress, and I appreciate that. I would work with Joss again in a second. I would work with him again in a second.

To be clear, in sharing his own feelings about Joss Whedon, Nathan Fillion in no way discounted the claims and reports of those who spoke out regarding other Whedon projects. So he wasn’t exactly denying the notion that such allegations are legitimate, even though he didn’t exactly show support to anyone either by avoiding the topic altogether. On the flip side of that coin, Dollhouse star Eliza Dushku previously shared a lengthy statement of support after her Buffy co-star Charisma Carpenter spoke out about her alleged experiences, though without calling Whedon out directly in the way she went about her claims against former Bull co-star Michael Weatherly.

So just in case anyone wondered if Fillion would still put future distance between himself and Whedon on a professional level, that’s clearly not the case. There’s no telling what the director will bring to light next from a creative standpoint, but if he needs anyone to fill the top spot on the call sheet, he knows where to look. 

Any Word On A Firefly Revival?

It's unclear if Firefly will ever make a return to fans in any live-action form following the Serenity feature, but it's safe to say that those chances got even worse after the Joss Whedon backlash. And while it sounds like he'd be skeptical about returning as Captain Mal with anyone other than Whedon as the spearheader, he'd clearly jump right into gear if someone picked it up with its creator's involvement intact. But is that something the two of them ever chat about? Here's how Fillion put it:

We talk, we joke, we fantasize. If I say anything too solid, it’ll go crazy. I hate being responsible for that crap. But that’s an entire cast and crew of people who had a fantastic job on that job. It was short-lived, so it didn’t have an opportunity to suck.

It's hard to think of any show that has anchored more "revive this show" conversations than Firefly, with its single season having launched a comic book mini-verse. Not that fans of the Fox series have allowed such two-dimensional fare to sway the calls for the show's crew to get back together for one last mission. (Or 8-13 last mini-missions, as it were.) 

Just as Nathan Fillion and Joss Whedon still keep in touch, The Rookie totally featured a sweet reunion between Fillion and his former Firefly (and Con Man) co-star Alan Tudyk back for the Season 4 finale. Granted, some storytelling magic would need to happen for Tudyk to return, but such is the world of sci-fi. Still, it's probably best not to get one's hopes up too high. 

Firefly is available to stream with a Hulu subscription.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.